Enterprise Challenge: Balancing Between Driving Innovation and Maintaining Uptime
December 02, 2019

Tobias Dunn-Krahn
xMatters

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Customer-impacting service disruptions can cost enterprises revenue and reputation. As businesses progress towards digitalization, maintaining an excellent customer experience has become a critical measure of an organization’s digital transformation success. For digital service providers, this requires modern architectures and new expectations for the way engineers, customer teams and business leaders work together. Responsibility for the customer experience is extended to multiple teams across technology organizations. 

xMatters recently released the results of its Incident Management in the Age of Customer-Centricity research study to better understand the range of various incident management practices and how the increased focus on customer experience has caused roles across an organization to evolve. The study asked the opinions of over 300 DevOps and IT Ops practitioners and business leaders from organizations of varying sizes, including midsize and enterprise-level businesses, delivering digital services.

Findings highlight the ongoing challenges organizations face as they continue to introduce and rapidly evolve digital services. The research also found the importance of intelligent, automated approaches to simultaneously reduce incidents and to limit their impact when they do arise.

Maintaining the Pace of Innovation and the Customer Experience

The research found a gap that needs to be closed if organizations hope to continuously innovate and maintain service performance and availability. More than half of respondents (54%) said their organization delivers at least one new software release per week and a full 77% of respondents said the number of releases has increased by at least 25% over the past three years.

Unfortunately, legacy technology and overburdened talent is straining to keep up. For example, 57% of organizations report their customers experience a degradation in digital experiences, ranging from minor performance issues to major outages, on a daily or weekly basis. 

Nearly 75% of survey respondents say that their ability to build out new services is sometimes or always affected by customer-impacting issues. This gap between the demand for new services and the need to provide an always-on, superior customer experience must be solved if the dream of the digitalization of business is to be realized.

Inefficient Incident Management Slows the Pace of Innovation

The vast majority of survey respondents (91.7%) representing myriad roles said that delivering a superior customer experience is a priority for them.

Previously, IT Ops alone was the group most commonly identified as being responsible for enabling the customer experience. This shift is important, as now nearly everyone across a technology enterprise shoulders part of the load and much of their time is lost to problem triage and working toward eventual resolution.

According to the survey, nearly half of development team leads indicated their developers spend more than 50% of their time manually addressing incidents. Already a huge concern, this sunk time is only going to become more painful as the pace of innovation continues to quicken.

Automation Helps Streamline Incident Management

There is reason for optimism in the survey results, too. Findings indicate that the modernization of incident management practices, including the use of more advanced IT tools and services, will dramatically aid in resolving issues at a faster pace through automation and by equipping enterprise employees with the information and resources needed to support digital transformation.

The majority of DevOps/SRE practitioners (84%), IT Operations practitioners (73%) and Developers (65%) surveyed believe emerging technologies like AI and ML will further improve their job performance.

These new advancements in incident management will aid companies as they continue to deliver quality services at a higher rate of speed. While the gap between an organization’s ability to innovate and maintain uptime is revealing, the modernization of incident management will equip employees to better serve their customers with critical insights and allow them to focus on service innovation.

Tobias Dunn-Krahn is CTO of xMatters
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